Japan can break into world's top 4 under Jones: Leitch

Jun 11, 2024

Former Japan captain Michael Leitch voiced his excitement Monday about working with Eddie Jones again and challenging the world's top rugby teams.

"We just don't stop moving the ball and we are looking to play the world's most exciting rugby," Leitch said in Miyazaki, where the Brave Blossoms are having their first training camp since Jones returned to the head coach's role. "I believe we have a chance to break into the (world's) top four."

202406 michael training camp
© Kyodo

In his previous stint as head coach, then perennial underdogs Japan turned months of hard training in Miyazaki into three wins at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, including a stunning victory over South Africa.

"Unlike a hell-like 2015, it's a lot of fun now," Leitch said, recalling the training in the run-up to Japan's breakthrough World Cup. The 35-year-old veteran is expected to make the transition from the back row to lock.

On June 22, Japan will play England at Tokyo's 68,000-seat National Stadium.